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RUSSIA XXI

GULAG and Aushwitz: The Comparative Research's Meaning and Function

The East-European change of regime found his ideological legitimation in the identification of fascism and «communism» in which the main discourse of this epoch concentrated. In the centre of this ideological legitimation there stands the Auschwitz-Gulag analogy. The author shows the political and ideological motivations, function and arguments of the newly actualised analogy of «AUSCHWITZ AND THE GULAG». The origin of this analogy was determined by the political aims of different political forces in the period of Cold war. After the change of regimes the identification of AUSCHWITZ AND THE GULAG became a rightist-conservative «narrative» in the historiography and in the streamline official political discourse. The function of this identification is to push out to the periphery of existence the system-critical thinking and movements as «extremes». The totalitarianism as a «theory» today has only one function in the historiography: the total criminalization of the history of the Soviet Union and «Communism» (see for example: «The Black Book of Communism»). The author shows that Auschwitz (Endlösung) and Gulag had different reasons and different aims, and also that to deny these differences means the historical relativization of the Endlösung. The author argues for the depolitization of this subject, which means to take seriously the archival research and scientific elaboration.

The Terrible Mistery of Russian Inflation

The author doubts whether the persons who define economic policies of the Russian cabinets since early 1990s up to now are monetarists. The real economic policies of these cabinets (and their monetary policies in particular) obviously contradict the basic tenets of monetarism and logic of the doctrine, in fact negate them. From this fact one should not come to a conclusion that policies of the Russian «monetarists» are void of any meaning. On the contrary, these policies have quite definite meaning and are consistent. The essence and the intention of these policies are the irreversible destruction of Russia. And inflation serves as an instrument (and quite effective one) to achieve the goal.

Theory and Practice of the Peasants' Backwardness: the Rural Economy, Social Agronomy, and Co-operatives in Russia, 1905-1914

This article asks whether the Old Regime in Russia was capable of bridging the cultural and legal gaps between the estates. It argues that the agricultural cooperative movement — which was meant to create an integrated society — was an example of the deep crisis affecting Russian society on the eve of the Revolution, since even the most «progressive» thinkers and activists in rural affairs (the generation of agronomists typified by Aleksandr Chaianov) shared with their employers in local and central government grave doubts about the capacity of peasants to integrate into Russian society as legitimate actors.
Contemplating on what the 20th century gave to the humankind the author comes to the conclusion that there is no reason to praise the century. Russia has particular and very strong reasons to be restrained in this respect. The problem is not just that the great state has disintegrated. The single legal, economic and socio-cultural space has disappeared. All bridges that had connected the past and the present have been burned. The unrestrained, boundless liberalization for Russia is even a greater absurdity than socialism building in a single isolated country. No reforms from above will transform Russia into the civil society where everyone will find conditions of self-expression. Politicians must offer the program in which the majority will see reflection of their own interests and aspiration.

Does a serf need the art of fencing?

The author emphasizes that the word «reform» permanently used in various combinations long ago has severed from any specific meaning. So called «reform of education» is no exclusion. The fact is that under Eltsin the branch experienced major changes that touched millions of people (pupils, their parents, teachers). However a future historian will in vain investigate official documents, verbatim accounts and materials of discussions in search of the concept of transformations. He will discover just a set of general, senseless words about «democratization», «humanitarization», «advanced experience of other countries» etc. all of which are practically irrelevant to the real politics. Nobody has substantiated or explained the real politics in the sphere of education. Nobody has discussed the real politics at pedagogical councils. It was simply implemented. The author demonstrates that the last combination of moves promoted by the Ministry of education (the single exam for the school-leaving certificate and for admission to the higher educational institution; 12 years term of secondary schooling; tests instead of traditional exams and the state financial obligations towards those particular persons who perform superbly) is not some new politics developed under Putin and subject to his aims but the direct continuation of the politics developed under Eltsin. A researcher sometimes has to reveal the true aims of this politics by comparing declarations with the specific actions and extracting information between the lines of official documents and interviews given by ministers and other high officials. It is precisely what the author undertook in the article.

The Condition of Population in the Central Asian Countries

The article deals with two principal problems: the first problem is dynamics of population growth and changes of ethnic-national structure of Central Asian countries and the second problem is the population’s general standards and conditions of living. Proceeding from massive statistical data including those provided by general censuses the author discovers the picture of drastic decrease of numbers and specific weight of the Slavic (European) population and increase of the so-called title (i. e., indigenous) population. Study of birth rates and fertility allows making a conclusion that all Central Asian countries will experience a further decrease of population growth in the nearest future. The real wages of workers and employees shrank two-fourfold during the deep economic crisis (in Tajikistan the decrease was even more pronounced). Thus now real wages and salaries do not exceed several dozens of dollars. It should be noted that in the course of the whole period of restoration, i. e., in the second half of 1990s real wages still remained to be 20−40% less (in Tajikistan they were two thirds less) than the pre-crisis maximum levels. Results of households' consumption studies and studies of retail trade turnover’s movements are presented. In general these results are similar to changes of real wages. The author considers dwelling conditions and the main components of the social infrastructure, the public health and education. Conditions of these components in general reflected dynamics of other standards of living though manifested a greater margin of safety. However the quality of education and medical care obviously deteriorated.
The economic science which came instead of «political economy of the developed socialism» proved to be not much closer to the real life of Russians working in plant shops, institutions, in hospitals and polyclinics (where people have to pay for so-called «insurance health service» once again putting their money in pockets of doctors, nurses and hospital’s door-keepers). However economists prefer «official data» (that confirm that all candidates running for mandates at elections are destitute people), average indicators and abstractions like «market reforms» to the harsh reality. Consequently, the everyday economics develops along its own lines while the science develops along it own lines. This science is incapable to give answers to the simple questions the life raises before an individual. The crux of the matter is that in the real life economics is inseparable from politics, i.e., from voluntary decisions made by bodies of power in interests of certain persons, organizations and social groups. The authors demonstrate that poverty of the Russian education system is result not of some abstract «insufficient financing» or «budget deficit» but of the conscious, deliberate policy aimed at support of some social groups at the expense of other' less privileged ones (for example, teachers).
The author demonstrates that in statistical reports and textbooks two very different types of human activity are presented under the same label of «advertisement». Of these two different activities only one may be considered as a socially useful activity. But it is far from being prevailing. Something different prevails: an activity which is closely related to the bigoted practices of «brain-washing» in J. Goebbels' agency and in Wahhabi training camps. Meanwhile not just the future of prosperous branch which absorbs expenses comparable to those for education but also fundamental theoretical principles of the science which came to Russia in 1990s from the West to replace «Marxian Leninst political economy» depend on the definition of advertisement. If advertisement is something different from what it pretends to be then the «objective» economic science is dubious not in some its partial and secondary considerations but in the very principles by which it defines itself. In other words, this science is based on sands, on an ideological cliches like «freedom of choice» or «the consumer’s sovereignty». The words are nice but are they relevant to the reality? If consumers' choice is free what are advertisement companies so generously paid for? If this choice is not free and a human person (a consumer, a voter, a respondent) is just a miserable puppet whose behavior is controlled from without in order to secure alien and too often blatantly hostile interests then what is the difference between the «open society» and the «totalitarian society»?

Computer Accounting of Little Flying Crocodiles.

Introduction of the Common State Exams (the Russian abbreviation for them is «ЕГЭ») is one of our principal «educational reforms». Its differences from the system of knowledge checking traditionally adopted in the USSR (and Russia) include the following characteristics: the school-leaving exams are combined with the entrance exams to a higher education institution (or, to be precise, to all higher education institutions simultaneously); questions are substituted for tests and an examiner is replaced with a computer. About 2 billion rubles are spent on introduction of the CSE since 2001. It is an amount comparable with the amount that presumably was lacking for devices, reagents, salaries and even for the simplest fire alarm systems and fire extinguishers in elementary and secondary schools. It should be added that the very concept of the CSE does not find support among scientists and educators. The article demonstrates the true nature of the Common State Examination on the specific discipline: basics of social sciences. It’s impossible to evaluate knowledge and abilities of youngsters on the grounds of such exam’s results. However, as the author thinks, it’s possible to evaluate knowledge and abilities — not of pupils but the «reformers» who invented and introduced the new system.
The idea that communism and Nazism are but the variants of the same «totalitarian» ideology has spread on the ruins of the USSR. It is supposed that one can hardly find any important difference here. The author of the article yet thinks that there is a strong difference between them, as well as between a Soviet and SS soldier. It is not a matter of nationality (Russian or German) — there were different people among the Hitler’s chasteners, including not-Aryans; it is a matter of the ideology. Communism and Nazism do not simply differ in some points — they are totally incompatible ideologies. That is why the fall of the USSR could not but turn into the revenge of the powers that were defeated in 1945. It happened not only in the Baltic countries and Western Ukraine. The idea: «let's beat Nigers!» (Azerbaijanians, Armenians, Jews, Russians — underline the necessary one) appears in an empty shaved head not from nowhere. It is the natural reaction of the lower classes to the fact that the radical anti-communism reached its climax in the higher circles, circles of big money and philosophical degrees. The word «internationalist» became dirty in the 1990-es. The «white spots» (censorship's shades) of the history that was written by soviet historians turned into the brown points of the new conjunction.

Real Mechanisms of Russian Economic Policy

Economic policy of a state have a bearing on many aspects of this state’s being: on its defense capacity, standards of living and longevity of its citizens, dynamics and stability of the country’s development. The hottest debates that took place during the period of Russian reforms are related precisely to definition of economic measures, decisions and actions' content. What is economic policy? How does it emerge and how is it shaped? What results does it bring about? The article is a study of connection between ideology as a political category and economic policy as a type of state government activity in contemporary Russia. The author demonstrates a series of negative consequences generated by in result of ideology substitution for managerial activity. Concept of «ideological corruption» is introduced. This concept helps to explain causes of the Russian economic policy’s inadequacy and irrationality. Some suggestions are offered. If implemented they will enable to mute, at least partially, effects of the identified negative mechanisms.
The Russian officials permanently express their indignation caused by arrangement of monuments to SS-men in Latvia and Estonia and commemorations in honor of SS-men organized in these states. Rehabilitation of Nazism in the Baltic states and in Western Ukraine is really a disgraceful, ignominious phenomenon. However the paradox lies in the fact that the monument of SS-men, Gruppenführer Helmut von Pannvitz and his fellows in arms from punitive units of Wehrmacht and SS was constructed in the capital of the Russian Federation, near Sokol subway station already under Elstin and it was not demolished in the year of the Victory 60th anniversary in spite of Muscovites' protests. The organized and purposeful revision of conventional scientific (read moral) notions on the WWII has gone (and still goes) unabated under accompaniment of jubilee speeches. Books, movies and performances whose authors freely scoffed at the memory of anti-Nazi fighters have kept to appear. It should be emphasized that quite often such undertakings were funded from the State budget and enjoyed the complete and cordial support of officials. Recently Ilya Smirnov, a historian, has published a series of articles on creeping rehabilitation of Nazism. Today he comes round to the theme and takes into account contradictory experience of the Victory 60th anniversary. He demonstrates how the political propaganda is disseminated under false cloak of «creativity». This propaganda campaign drubs the idea that the forefathers of the younger generations of Russians were cruel and brutish murderers and Nazis were innocent victims of the Soviet «totalitarian» regime into conscience of people who are coming into age. The author draws a particular attention to underlying motives of the organizers of this propaganda campaign as well as to the deplorable fact that these people still control principal Russian media and may employ the air and press to advertise their production and defame their opponents.
The author undertakes an attempt to understand the roots of the Russian statehood, its specific properties and define national peculiarities of Russia’s historical path and Russia’s national priorities. The author pays the particular attention to the Soviet period of the Russian history and to the current stage of the state and national building which «is sewn together rough-and ready». According to the author, the principal problem of the society at the present time lies in the «crisis of meanings» which goes on unabated, in overcoming of the Russian political thought reduction and fugacity that have become quite customary features, in necessity of the new statehood self-identification within the framework of more than 1000 years old Russian historical experience. A serious, detailed «talk of foundations», restoration of traditions of conceptual creativity, development of social and political philosophy, recognition of Russia’s genuine condition and horizons in the world of the 21st century, investigation of the rapid shifts that have occurred and still occur in political, social, cultural spheres, discussion of the civilizational situation that has emerged and of the entire global changes mechanics are equal requirements of the period

«KRAHO-DEL» Project. Separatism in the Present Day Russia: Facts and Trends

The author analyzes separatist trends exacerbation in contemporary Russia which has artificial character. This phenomenon is caused by various reasons including «export» of Chechen terrorism into Ingushetia, Dagestan and other North Caucasus regions. The author points at new destabilization of the Volga region, at escalation of the «Russian issue» in regions inclined to separatism (including Stavropol and Kuban regions), at official proposals of the Siberian and Ural authorities on long-term lease of territories to China in context of consequences delivered. The author supposes the coincidence of the Russian process and intensification of global trend to development of regionalism which is the integral part of global and supranational separatism European projects. Interest the West expresses to development of regionalism and overt separatism in Russia manifests itself in different forms. These forms include international pressure on Russia which faces the demand «to expand rights of regions and ethnic communities», and the forthright support of separatism, and imposition of alien doctrines of regional development, and European integration programs extrapolation on the Russian territory. Use of separatist ideas within framework of major political campaigns becomes a new phenomenon. According to the author, the possible support of decentralization doctrine by the central authorities under urgent social and economic trends is the greatest danger. The announced in early 2008 course line towards the full-fledged economic independence of regions is considered in this light.

Russia and CIS: Social Linguistic Dimension

The article deals with problems of the present day situation and prospects of Russian language development in conditions of increasing globalization, intensification of ethnic linguistic pluralism on one hand and exacerbation of national linguistic self-identification problems on the other hand. Status of Russian language and title languages of former Soviet republics and autonomies has changed radically and brought about the change in mutual relationships between the general Federal language and national languages. Struggle for promotion of national languages' status has become a tool of political manipulation used not just by national elites but by certain social strata too. Majority of CIS countries pursued the purposeful policy of ethnic linguistic distance from Russia and this policy contributed to disintegration of once unified linguistic political space and to radicalization of disintegration processes. Issues of language law development are among the most acute issues for multinational states.

Laboratories for Control of the Future: Occult Sects as Partners of Multinational Corporations

Training of the population for acceptance of a ‘new world order' presupposes a leveling of human conscience by way of creation of a global and comprehensive religion. Nowadays ‘New Age', an occult and spiritual movement makes a claim for the role of such religion. The distinctive characteristics of ‘New Age' movement are syncretism, pluralistic universalism, and global thinking. Spread of this movement in the Western society is carried on under disguise of various new religious movement and sects activities. In Europe these activities have acquired a threatening scale. In conditions of the European liberal moral tolerance domination occult sects employ flexible and mobile methods of penetration. In fact, the sects are penetrating with all spheres of the social, political and economic life and create a parallel network society. Heading for, first of all, education, science, culture, public health, and informatics the sects also actively integrate in the entrepreneurship and develop close contacts with the business world, the more so because the present-day multinational corporations are increasingly acquiring features of quasi-religious entities. Commonness of basic assumptions chiefs of sects and corporation business elite use in appraising a human personality and their own ultimate goals makes sects reliable economic partners of multinational corporations. Actually, sects borrow from multinational corporations their methods of management and control of individual conscience.

«The Vilest Might»: on the End of the University Epoch and Reform of the Russian Higher Education

The author discusses the reform of higher education in the present day Russia and, in particular, transformation of educational system in accordance with Bologna Convention. The reform is considered against the historical background of higher education model changeovers that occurred from the Antiquity up to the present day. In the traditional educational system the value of knowledge was not utilitarian. Humanitarian disciplines occupied a high position in the traditional educational system. In the consumption society knowledge and education acquire extremely practical value while moral component of education is reduced to grafting of some simplest skills of socialization. Education needs changes but the ideology of total orientation to demands of market and cuts in expenditures determines current involuntary, often forced transformations and can bring about enormous losses.

Education in the Present Day Russia: Ascending the Descending Stairway? (Traits to the Portrait of our Reforms)

The article deals with strategies of the Russian education. The focus is made on these strategies adequacy to the real challenges Russia confronts now. The inevitable multiple and relative character of crises in education in the environment of the present day dynamics of social history is emphasized. The author concludes that prevailing in Russia nowadays strategies of education development are haphazard, non-systemic and that ideas and practices of the 1990s radical Liberalism dominate in these strategies due to the inertia. The issue of necessity to correct strategies of the Russian Federation education development, with real peculiarities of the current stage of the Russian civilization transformation including acute demand to formation of the Russian national identity taken into due account.
The public generally thought of military procurement and supply system as of the sphere that attracted people of low moral standards. In fact, corruption and embezzlement of state property in the military department of the Russian Empire were complex socio-cultural phenomena that reflected realities of the political system, of social life pattern, of legal conscience and administration technologies. The organized embezzlement of the state property in form of money or inventory items is the inescapable result of loose control over the bureaucratic machine where activities of all audit structures are effectively neutralized with techniques developed in the process of practical use of normative acts and by-laws that were presumably aimed at preservation of every public penny.

Destiny of a Female Refugee. Based on the WWI Documents

The author deals with one of the most dramatic and new social phenomena the Russian empire encountered during the World War I, i.e. massive flow of refugees. The author considers various aspects of a female refugee as these are represented by results of new document studies. The main types of new documents are newspaper publications and some female refugees' letters kept in archives. The author describes a wide range of a female refugee’s fears and alarms, difficulties of such females' life at new places of residence in the escape.
The author examines the current state of the Russian society, Russians' attitude toward the authorities and compares them with the aggregate of ideas and expectations that were specific to the so called democratic movement and the liberal intelligentsia in the time of perestroika, on the eve of reforms commenced in 1992. The «democratic» project of those days are compared with results of reforms carried out during the past 20 years along such criteria as freedom, justice, and public moods and values. The author demonstrates that freedom has not been achieved in the social dimension and principles of justice are grossly violated and ignored. All that exercises a negative effect on the mass conscience that experiences crisis and degradation. According to author, the higher authorities lack a coherent conception of reforms, of transformations they carry out. Moreover, even the declaration of the authorities' intentions is a simulation of systemic reforms and modernization.
A conference organized by S. Kurginyan was dedicated to the fate of the single state examination in the RF. Members of higher education institutions faculty and scientists who work at these institutions took part in discussion of the urgent topic. The Russian education problem lies in the fact that initiatives of the power in the sphere of education have long ago come in contradiction with moods of the overwhelming part of population. In fact, nearly 70% of population is strongly against the SSE. The SSE system contributes to the degradation of education as a whole. It was important for participants of the conference to understand the essence of the SSE, how it is carried on and to what asymmetric results the SSE provides across the RF territory. The author considers the SSE within the general context of education reforms.
Technocratic mentality started to form gradually since the second part of the 19th century. The most famous European physicians stated that the crisis of humane medicine arrived after the WWI and the increasing dehumanization of medical activity came after the WWII. Nowadays the process seems to acquire irreversible character. A doctor and a patient have proved to be on different sides of the barricade built of technical achievements and hardened by impregnable technocratic mentality.

Apocalypse of Our Times: Preliminary Results of the Russian Education Reforms

The author considers consequences and prospects of reforms commenced in the Russian education in the 2000s and 2010s. The author focuses his attention on the higher education of the Bologna system and on conception of Liberal Arts as well as on idea of radical reduction of faculty, on conception of the «effective contract» an instructor strikes with an educational institution administration, on introduction of the final composition in senior classes and on changes in control and measuring materials of the Unified state exam in Russian. The author notes crudity of reforms undertaken as well as planned, a significant intensification bureaucratization and unfounded upsurge of reporting. Finally the author proposes a number of measures that can stop the pernicious trend.

Апокалипсис нашего времени / Apocalipse Now. Предварительные итоги реформ российского образования

В статье рассматриваются последствия и перспективы реформ, начатых в российском образовании в 2000-е и начале 2010-х годов. В центре внимания: идея радикального сокращения преподавательского корпуса; концепция «эффективного контракта», заключаемого преподавателем с администрацией учебного заведения; библиометрические показатели как критерий эффективности научной деятельности преподавателя; введение итогового сочинения в выпускных классах и изменения в контрольно-измерительных материалах Единого государственного экзамена по русскому языку, прежде всего серьезнейшее упрощение заданий; снижение минимальных баллов ЕГЭ, необходимых для поступления в высшее учебное заведение. Отмечается непродуманность проведенных и намеченных преобразований, значительное усиление бюрократизации и необоснованный рост отчетности. Предложен ряд мер, способных остановить губительную тенденцию.

Воинские преступления как фактор криминализации России в Первой мировой войне

Статья, основанная на архивных материалах, посвящена вопросу роли воинских преступлений в криминализации России в годы Первой мировой войны. В работе рассмотрены основные виды воинских преступлений в годы войны, их масштабы и динамика, связь с общегражданскими преступлениями и революционными выступлениями, проанализировано изменение самого состава русской армии, постоянно пополняемого бывшими уголовниками, их роль в прогрессирующей криминализации армии и общества вплоть до Октябрьской революции.

The Secretary General-Head of a Desk: Traits of Constantine Chernenko’s Biography

Very short leadership of the General Secretary of the CPSU Konstantin Chernenko, which continued a little more than a year and crowned the stagnant-gerontocratic period of the USSR, was filled with historical symbolism. Leadership of Chernenko was indicated a very clear message: the Soviet socio-political system built by Stalin for a strong authoritarian leader, is not able to function normally and it begins to degrade with the weakening of the Supreme power in the country. Unfortunately, the ruling elite was unable to adequately respond to this and other challenges, it failed to implement the correct reform of the state and establish a constructive dialogue with society. This fatal failure was most clearly manifested in the years of Gorbachev's perestroika, which caused predetermined catastrophic finale of the USSR.